Most artists have a place they write songs, a place they can go to in order to escape the pressures of the everyday.
Will Varley likes to write at home. It's a shelter, a comfort zone, but also a place of inspiration - living by the coast, he's able to cast his imagination out across the sea.
New album 'Postcards From Ursa Minor' is certainly a work of lively imagination. Amid a sparse and often sombre musical framework Will's lyrical wordplay veers from topic to topic, an engrossing and always poetic observer.
Out today (October 30th) Clash is able to stream the album before anyone else. Check it out below, before finding some words from Will Varley after the jump.
I wrote most of these songs siting at my kitchen table. I live at the foot of the white cliffs, where the wind blows all day long and the sound of the sea comes in through the windows whether you want it to or not. When I was younger I used to write in the middle of the night, but these days I prefer to work through the afternoon, and then go and sit in the pub in the evening minding my own business. Of course, you never really know when a songs gonna come along, often you can try and write all day and get nothing. Then the next day you're on the bus somewhere and suddenly there it is.
A lot of the lyrics on this album are about time and how it passes and changes as you get older. I think it's something we are all interested in really, because we all know we have a limited amount of it. You know, like when you're sitting waiting for a train and three minutes feels like a week, then suddenly a weeks gone by but it only felt like three minutes. Most of these songs explore that idea in some way.
Another thing you'll hear coming up on this album a lot is the idea of 'space'. Specifically the fact that we're all living our lives on this big sphere that's floating through a unfathomably vast universe. That gets to me sometimes. I mean, shouldn't we all be talking about that more than we do? Everything else seems insignificant to me, like war or politics. Or what colour socks you're wearing. Or whether Arsenal have a chance of winning the Premier League. We are hurtling through space, spinning aimlessly around a gigantic ball of fire, and we have no idea how or why. Worrying about anything else seems ludicrous...
Anyway once I had some songs together I teamed up with the mighty Tristan Ivemy who produced the record. We spent most of the summer in a little studio in North London eating pizza and fiddling around with knobs. I recorded all my bits live, just me and a guitar, recorded at the same time. Then once we had all that down we set about layering a few bits and pieces on top. A few friends stopped by over the weeks. David Hatton, who produced my last two albums, came and put some electric guitar down for example. Another day Beans On Toast and Frank Turner came over and put down some guest vocals, which was a lot of fun. You can hear them both singing on the opening track and a bit of Frank on 'Seize The Night'.
Once we'd recorded and mixed everything I went to see Frank Arkwright over at Abbey Road and he mastered it for us. He gave me a little tour of the studio and I got my picture taken on the zebra crossing outside. It was a great day.
Then a few months later a finished copy arrives through my front door and I put it on my shelf and that's it. Album number three is done and dusted and ready for your ears. I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it...
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